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tv   Martin Bashir  MSNBC  February 15, 2013 1:00pm-2:00pm PST

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far more pro-gun control than white. just after newtown, 68% of blacks said gun control was more important than gun rights while over 50% of whites said gun rights were still more important. 53% of blacks think gun ownership puts you more at risk while 54% of whites think guns protect. perhaps we know that gun laws can work. it's fascinating to me that despite the scourge of gun violence in our community, black gun ownership lags far behind white gun ownership. perhaps we know wayne lapierre is wrong about good guys and bad guys and guns. many of us find him hard to trust. his recent editorial in the daily caller spoke of supposedly rampant crime and murder in some place he called south brooklyn in the days after hurricane sandy. i live in brooklyn and there is no place referred to as south
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brooklyn but i think it's safe to say when he says that, much of the country envisions a place clogged with black people. if adam lanza with walked in a school in south brooklyn, we would probably not be having a sustained national conversation about guns. adam just smushed the pain of the gun epidemic in america's faw face but black people have been living with that pain for so long we're numb to it. black on black crime is a far more prevalent problem. we need greater out rage over that. i say this as the son of a long time gun owner who carries a gun to keep him safe as he moves through boston's black areas. when people say what has obama done for the black community, tell them whatever he accomplishes on gun control will disproportionately help us. okay. that does it for "the cycle." martin, it's yours. >> thanks so much toure. good afternoon. i am indeed martin bashir and we
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are awaiting the president who is on the road again. he's about to speak in his hometown of chicago focused on erasing decades of poverty and preparing young people for the requirements of a modern 21st century world. he's also expected to touch on gun safety in a neighborhood devastated nightly by tragedy. something that he spoke about earlier today at the president's citizen's medal ceremony at the white house. >> a special note just to the families who are here from sandy hook, we are so blessed to be with you. i have gotten to know many of you during the course of some very difficult weeks, and your courage and love for each other and your communities shines through every single day and we could not be more blessed and grateful for your loved ones who gave everything they had on behalf of our kids.
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>> as we await the president, let's go to our panel. mark glaze is director of mayors against illegal guns and karen finney is former dn c communications director and also an msnbc political analyst. good day to you both. mark, i want to talk about some of the points that the president is expected to make in a moment, but first let's talk about that rebuttal by the great wayne lapierre. what's most amazing is that it did not at all mirror his barely concealed nativism which was on display in an editorial release that day. hurricanes tornadoes, riots, terrorists, gangs, lone criminals, these are perils we are sure to face, not just maybe. it's not paranoia to buy a gun. it's survival. it's responsible behavior, and it's time we encourage law-abiding americans to do just that. what do you think would have been the reaction, mark, if he had actually said that on camera? >> well, it might have been similar to the reaction that he got when they had that press
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conference after the newtown shooting which was sort of disbelief at how disconnected and extreme the nra's washington lobbyists are when most of us know nra members are ordinary folks who take guns and take shooting classes from the nra and think everybody should get a background check. the interesting thing here is not just how extreme wayne lapierre has become but how different the leadership has become from the members of this organization. >> but, mark, he's describing apocalypse now in america, isn't he? >> yeah. he is. >> he claims to be describing an area called south brooklyn. i go to brooklyn regularly. i have never been confronted at any time of day or night by the kind of marauding thugs he says were roaming the streets immediately following hurricane sandy. >> well, there were no such maur rauding thugs. he also talks about all kinds of activity at the southwest border, coded language i assume that does not really exist. if he's concerned about the problem, then one would think that he would be in favor of law that is would keep guns out of
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the wrong hands like bangs of various kinds, but he will refuse to do anything that might reduce the number of guns that fall into those hands like a background check. again, everybody is like -- 90% of the public thinks everybody should get a background check. you can't get 90% of the public to agree the earth is round. it's amazing. >> that is true. we are expecting the president in a moment. our cameras are focused on the podium. karen, can you explain to our viewers why the nra keeps putting wayne lapierre out there? because other than the truth about gun violence, he's got to be the best asset for gun safety advocates we've ever had. >> well, because if you read the last third of the piece that you mentioned that was in "the daily caller" it's very clear the goal is to raise money for the organization, to try to stoke paranoia to increase gun sales because, don't forget, the nra
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has lots of partnership with gun and ammo dealers so they actually make money when guns and ammunition are sold, and he names a couple of gun sellers in that piece, and then he also has a call for people to join the nra. clearly he knows the majority of his current members don't actually agree with him. so he's trying to get more members who will actually back this sort of more radical out of touch agenda. i think we need to be clear, he is crazy like a fox this man. he is not -- it's very easy to read some of this language and dismiss it as crazy, and it is, but it's also very calculating and i think we need to be very clear about that and call that out -- >> it's pretty hateful as well, karen. >> yes. it is very hateful, but part of the goal of that is to stoke fear to create this us versus them attitude as a way to continue to motivate certain groups of people to, you know, fight this fight with him. >> well, we have our correspondent john yang who is
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actually at the school at the event where the president is expected to speak. john, what can you tell us about what the president is expected to say particularly in relation to guns and gun safety? >> reporter: well, i think he's going to talk about it. he's going to touch on it. certainly in this neighborhood, which has been very hard hit by gun violence, i think he will -- the focus of the speech that the white house wanted to present here is talking about ladders to the middle class. and they're going to try to make that connection between the gun violence, between the violence that's affecting communities like this area here in the south side of chicago, and reaching the middle class. that if you can raise people up, raise communities up into the middle class, provide what they call ladders of opportunity, that you can address that issue, that you can bring down the violence, you can take away the causes and some of the reasons for it. they'll make that connection. in this audience here today --
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sorry, go ahead. >> and in the audience i may have anticipated what you were going to say, john, so forgive me, but the parents ofh -- of hadiya pendleton who had performed at the president's inauguration and then her life was taken randomly in a park where she was playing with her friends. >> reporter: that's exactly right. i think that's the challenge that we're confronting here. he is meeting now behind closed doors in a private meeting. they aren't allowing any still photographers or even a spray of this meeting. he's meeting with 16 students at this school, hyde park academy, 16 students who take part in an anti-violence program, who talk about mentoring, who talk about helping youth at risk. these are students who have -- some are in this by choice, some
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have been urged to join this group by school leaders, school teachers and administrators. the school described this conversation as a heart-to-heart talk between the president, who does know these streets, knows this area. his home is only two miles away from this high school. to talk to these young men about what it's like to grow up in an environment like this, in a tough neighborhood, in a tough city. and i think that that is exactly why he's not here right now. i think this conversation is going on longer than anticipated, and the white house really said this was his main focus while he was here at the school was to talk to these young men, martin. >> okay. thank you so much, john yang. let's go back to mark glaze. mark, i just want to make the point for our viewers that john yang was just making, and i want to mention a few reports of deaths attributable to gun
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violence in the last 24 hours. a man outside dallas was shot and killed early this morning. an arkansas woman was killed in her apartment hour later. and on valentine's day a teenager in north carolina was killed while playing around with a shotgun with her brother. it would be wrong of us just to look at today and think that chicago is unique in some way. this is a nationwide problem, isn't it? >> and the point that our mayors make all of the time is that the public pays a lot of attention when there's a mass shooting because it's so unbelievably horrific but the truth is 33 americans are murdered in this country every day with guns. and it's only now that there's been this tipping point that the public is starting to hear about the daily toll that inadequate regulation of guns takes and, by the way, 33 is only the number who are murdered with guns. many more are killed through accidental death, injury, and suicide. >> sure. kar karen, the pressure that's being brought to bear by the president, yes, as mark says,
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there are these spectacularly horrendous massacres, but alongside that, just the daily routine of murder as a consequence of gun violence in this country, and the president appears to be trying to take hold of all of that, both the everyday if you like, and i'm apologizing for using the word routine violence -- >> sure. alongside these horrendous massacres and pointing the public at the fact we need to do something about this. >> but that's part of what is so powerful and i think why this has been such a transformational experience for this president. as john yang was saying, he understands what's happening in chicago. clearly he was very moved by the experience of newtown. he said that was the worst day of his presidency. he's using the bully pulpit of presidential leadership to help keep this issue at the forefront of our national conversation. every time the president goes out and does an event, it gets
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covered and he knows that. it will get local and national media coverage. i'm really proud of this president for doing his part to give choice to something that is an unfortunate reality for so many americans in our daily lives. and for so long we have had to talk about jobs and the economy and those things are important as well. but this is a national crisis that as we've talked about has been going on for far too long, and with the president's added attention to it, it's sort of giving voice to something we all already know is a problem but really haven't taken the opportunity to focus on and say, hey, how are we going to deal with this problem? >> i'm grateful to you for focusing with us. please stay with us as we await the president at a chicago high school moments ahead. stay with us. >> they gave all they had for the most innocent and helpless among us. that's what we honor today. the courageous heart, the selfless spirit, the inspiring
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it's just unfortunate that this kind of politics intrudes at a time when i'm still presiding over a war in afghanistan and i need a secretary of defense who is coordinating with our allies to make sure that our troops are getting the kind of strategy and mission that they deserve. >> we are awaiting the president. he's expected to give a speech at a chicago high school in a moment in which we expect him to address, among other things, gun violence. the president is also trying to guide through the confirmation of chuck hagel. and why doesn't the president have a secretary of defense? and why have republicans decided to prevent chuck hagel from
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leading the men and women of our armed forces? there is an answer, my friends, but you might find it a little bizarre. take a listen. >> there's a lot of ill will towards senator hagel because when he was a republican he attacked president bush mercilessly. at one point said he was the worst president since herbert hoover. >> are we really to believe that senator john mccain, who once had a few objections of his own towards george w. bush, is really upset because chuck hagel compared w. with herbert hoover? you are republicans trying to subvert the foreign policy of the united states over an old and bitter grudge? let's bring in ari melber and democrat strategist julian ep sto epstein. what is senator mccain's
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problem? is he trying to defend a mode okur president bush or is he trying to defend a failed war in iraq? >> i think it's more iraq where we know senator mccain has long stood by our presence there and adding troops there, but bottom line if you take this as the mccain filibuster standard, then no one in any democratic administration ever gets a vote because, guess what? a lot of them have good faith and i think well-grounded disagreements with george w. bush. so this cannot be the standard. it's not defensible on its own terms and that's the problem. they are erecting a supermajority hurdle for all of this legislation and all of these nominees. this is an old problem from the way the republicans have been acting and it doesn't stand up because by this standard again you would not let anyone serve in government that you di agreed with. >> but it's based on a grudge. it's based on a bitter grudge 4e held by senator mccain. what possible principle is he using to uphold the nomination of a defense secretary given that this nation is at war?
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>> i don't think it's principled. i think it is unfortunate, and equally important it doesn't stand up because this is a senator here who wanted george w. bush and republicans, of course, to get their team in, and now he's got this grudge. if you take a step back, i'm not the biggest chuck hagel fan in the world anyway. if republicans don't like it, when president obama appoints republicans, he won't even try to reach out. it's not a two-sided problem in washington. the democrats have a role because harry reid didn't get through filibuster reform. he should have so they held onto the process -- >> but that had nothing to do with what happened yesterday? >> but they are not the abusers, they are the enablers and the abusers are john mccain and people who don't want -- it sounds like rhetoric, literally don't want the post filled at the pentagon because of their grudges. >> julian, the senate will take up mr. hagel's nomination when it reconvenes in ten days atime but i want to bring in something
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from richard hass. here he is with our own joe scarborough. >> we're hearing in the end most likely he's going to pass and be secretary of defense, so why hold him up over a recess when the pentagon desperately needs somebody at the helm? >> because in a funny sort of way, joe, it's exactly what mccain said. it's a way of getting their pound of flesh. >> julian, pound of flesh. is that really what this is all about? given that our troops deserve a leader because they serve with every ounce of their bodies, they give their bodies. >> well, i don't know that they will get a pound of flesh and it is a rizable reason. politics is about picking good fights. this is a fight the republicans will lose and it's a bad fight and you wonder why after what's happened to the republican party they continue to pick bad fights they're going to lose. they're going to lose, one, because there's pressing security issues.
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two, because there's no precedent for holding up a secretary of defense. and, three, you ask about mccain's principles here. mccain has uttered four different conflicting positions since february 4th about whether, in fact, he would filibuster the hagel nomination. it's i am possibmpossible to di his principle or reason is. he also started out saying they were going to hold it up because they wanted more information on benghazi. now mccain says they have enough information. now they're taking the position they're going to hold the nomination up until they can get more information about financial issues relating to organizations that hagel spoke to. nobody has ever been through that kind of pretextual reason for holding up a nomination. as ari knows, when you're nominated for a position, the fbi does an extensive background check on you including financial information, so this is a bogus reason, it's a canard. then you have people like senator cruz who seems like he's
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from another planet suggesting there's an alignment between hagel's position and iran's position. and you have mccain fessing up yesterday and saying this is about a personal grudge and that's what this all comes down to. a personal grudge because -- >> incredible. >> hagel took a position that the majority of the american people actually support, which is that the iran war was a mistake. >> ari, you worked in the senate once. i want to quote from a tweet by ben white of politico who gives an anonymous snalt staffer saying this, senator hagel is going to be confirmed as soon as we demonstrate what a bunch of whack doodles we are. i mean, there's plenty of evidence that they're whack doodles and in the case of ted cruz, the junior senator from texas, he's kind of ample evidence, isn't he, already? >> yeah. well senator cruz has clearly decided not to do the normal thing, which is to show some humility when you enter the body which is like entering a room.
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there's conversations already going on and the tradition in the senate has generally been to listen before you scream. he's not following that -- >> listen before you scream. this guy smears and slurs before he speaks. he's made allegations about chuck hagel receiving monies from enemies of this country and has produced no evidence whatsoever. >> that's correct. under the disclosure requirements which we have no reason to believe the obama administration is not following any contact with foreign government are required under those rules and that's why even senator mccain, mr. personal grudge, had to rebut senator cruz. it goes to something larger and something we have talked about on this show and we had some big disagreements. i had a big exchange with jonathan alter about susan rice' n rice's nomination. mr. alter was saying you have to move on sometime. susan rice wasn't a battle worth fighting. what i said now and obviously i'm biased, but i think history has born out that i was right. what i said then was it's not
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about the nominee. they are looking for certain fights and they will go at anyone, chuck hagel, a conservative red state republican to them is as objectionable and terrible and bengha benghazi-related as susan rice. the president should learn well from this experience. should nominate fewer republicans, should pick the original picks whoever they may be, susan rice is still on the team. she can be picked later -- >> and stick with them. >> they will fill biser anyone. stick with them and ride right over them. >> i'm not sure about that, ari, because this is not an instructive moment for democrats. this is an instructive moment for republicans. we have seen republicans in the last year offend women, immigrants, african-americans, on down the line, and here they're taking a position that's just odious to most americans which is attacking somebody who had nothing to do with benghazi, wasn't in government during that time, attacking a guy who is a decorated war veteran and even republicans are coming out
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saying they're going to vote for the this guy. this is a low moment for the republican party. this should be an instructive moment for the republican party who keeps going from the party of 47% towards the direction of a party of 10%. >> ari melber, julian epstein, thank you both for joining us. do stay with us as we await the president with an important speech from a high school in chicago. we'll bring it right to you in a moment. stay with us. [ male announcer ] in blind taste tests, even ragu users chose prego. prego?! but i've bought ragu for years. [ thinking ] wonder what other questionable choices i've made? i choose date number 2! whooo! [ sigh of relief ] [ male announcer ] choose taste. choose prego. [ sigh of relief ] today is gonna be an important day for us. you ready? we wanna be our brother's keeper. what's number two we wanna do? bring it up to 90 decatherms. how bout ya, joe? let's go ahead and bring it online.
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>> reporter: they're both seniors. tell us about the meeting. tell us about what happened? >> first of all, i would like to say i was sitting right next to him so it was like how close we are right now. it wasn't -- i wasn't too nervous to be sitting next to the president where everybody else was wanting to be seated. >> reporter: what did the president tell you? >> he told us how he overcame some things in his life and i shared with him how i overcame some things in my life. just because he's the president don't mean he don't go through hard things and how he go about doing them, being better as a man. >> reporter: what did you take away? what was the message you took away from what the president said? >> no matter what, you know, disagreements you have in your life, just keep living. you know, keep believing in god. we had a good conversation.
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>> tells you how you feel physically, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. >> did he talk about the gun violence, the violence we have seen in this community? >> a little bit, but it's really basically -- i mean it was basically about how to the overcome our problems and how to better yourself as a man. not too much about the violence. >> just keep thinking positive no matter what's around you negative, just keep living your life. as long as you keep going positive, don't let nothing stop you. >> surround yourself with positive people. >> reporter: thank you. two high school seniors at hyde park academy have just met with the president and he imparted his lessons about overcoming adversity and living in a difficult neighborhood. martin? >> john yang with lazarus and ronald, and there is rahm emanuel, the mayor of chicago who will be speaking first before the president. here he is, rahm emanuel. >> thanks, guys.
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thank you very much. it's an honor to welcome president obama back home to chicago. like every major city in the country, chicago faces two critical challenges. the strength of our schools and the safety of our streets. our streets will only be as safe as our schools are strong and our families are sound. after decades of debate our children now have a full school day and a full school year equal to the measure of their potential. we have created five new high schools partnered with major tech companies to educate students all the way to a community college degree and focus on science and technology and math and engineering. just like the one the president mentioned in new york in his state of the union. new york has one, chicago has five, but who is counting. the reforms we have brought to early childhood education and our community colleges and our college to career program align
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with the president's agenda as he laid it out in the state of the union. for our children to live up to their potential, we have to live up to our obligations to them with greater investments in afterschool programs, job training, as well as mentoring programs like becoming a man, a program the president just saw with the kids here. it is programs like these that provide our young people with the moral grounding that they too often are not getting at home. but the real measure for us after all this is that the when the students in this school and schools across the city of chicago and across this country walk out and they see the promise of downtown, do they see their future as part of that opportunity or do they see a different future? and that is how we measure success. the two places where we can bridge that gap between where our kids are today and the promise of this city and the
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promise that this city holds are in the classroom and in the home. president obama understands that to connect all americans to that vision of a promising future requires that we create real ladders of opportunity. i am pleased he has come home to expand on that vision. ladies and gentlemen, let's give the president a chicago welcome. [ cheers and applause ] ♪ . >> hey, chicago! hello, chicago! hello, everybody. hello, hyde park! [ cheers and applause ]
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it is good to be home. it is good to be home. everybody have a seat. y'all relax. it's just me. y'all know me. it is good to be back home. a couple people i want to acknowledge. first of all, i want to thank your mayor, my great friend rahm emanuel, for his outstanding leadership of the city and his kind introduction. [ applause ] i want to thank everybody here at hyde park academy for welcoming me here today. [ cheers and applause ] i want to acknowledge your principal and your assistant principal, although they really make me feel old because when i
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saw them -- where are they? where are they? stand up, stand up. [ cheers and applause ] they are doing outstanding work. we're very, very proud of them, but you do make me feel old. sit down. couple other people i want to acknowledge. governor pat quinn is here doing great work down in springfield. my great friend and senior senator dick durbin is in the house. congressman bobby rush is here. we're in his district. attorney general and former seat mate of mine when i was in the state senate, lisa madigan. county board president, used to be my alderwoman, toni
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prekwinkcle in the house. and i see a lot of reverend clergy but i'm not going to mention them because if i miss one i'm in trouble. they've been friends of mine. they have been knowing me. some people may not know this, but obviously this is my old neighborhood. i used to teach right around the corner. this is where michelle and i met, where we fell in love. this is where we raised our daughters in a house just about a mile away from here, less than a mile. and that's really what i have come here to talk about today. raising our kids. >> we love you! >> i love you, too. i love you, too.
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i'm here to make sure that we talk about and then work towards giving every child every chance in life. building stronger communities and new ladders of opportunity that they can climb into the middle class and beyond. and most importantly keeping them safe from harm. michelle was born and raised here, a proud daughter of the south side. [ cheers and applause ] last weekend she came home, but it was to attend the funeral of hadiya penlton. hadiya's parents are here and i just want to acknowledge them. they were just wonderful people. [ cheers and applause ] and as you know, this week in my state of the union i talked
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about hadiya on tuesday night and the fact that, unfortunately, what happened to hadiya is not unique. it's not unique to chicago. it's not unique to this country. too many of our children are being taken away from us. two months ago america mourned 26 innocent first graders and their educatoe erors in newtown today i had the higher of giving the highest civilian award i can give to the families of the educators who had been killed in newtown. and there was something profound and unique ly heart-breaking an
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tragic obviously about a group of 6-year-olds being killed, but last year there were 443 murders with a firearm on the streets of this city, and 65 of those victims were 18 and under. so that's the equivalent of a newtown every four months. and that's precisely why the overwhelming majority of americans are asking for some common sense proposals to make it harder for criminals to get their hands on a gun. and as i said on tuesday night, i recognize not everybody agrees with every issue. there are regional differences. the experience of gun ownership is different in urban areas than it is in rural areas. different from upstate and
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downstate illinois. but these proposals deserve a vote in congress. they deserve a vote. [ applause ] they deserve a vote. and i want to thank those members of congress who are working together in a serious way to try to address this issue. but i have also said no law or set of laws can prevent every senseless act of violence in this country. when a child opens fire on another child, there's a hole in that child's heart that government can't fill, only community and parents and teachers and clergy can fill that hole. in too many neighborhoods today, whether here in chicago or the
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farthest reaches of rural america, it can feel like for a lot of young people the future only extends to the next street corner or the outskirts of town. that no matter how much you work or how hard you try, your destiny was determined the moment you were born. there are entire neighborhoods where young people, they don't see an example of somebody succeedi succeeding. for a lot of young boys and young men in particular, they don't see an example of fathers or grandfathers or uncles who are in a position to support families and be held up and respected. and so of that means that this is not just a gun issue. it's also an issue of the kinds of communities that we're building, and for that we all share a responsibility as
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citizens to fix it. we all share a responsibility to move this country closer to our founding vision that no matter who you are or where you come from, here in america you can decide your own destiny. you can succeed if you work hard and fulfill your responsibilities. [ applause ] that means we've got to grow our economy and create more good jobs. it means we've got to equip every american with the skills and the training to fill those jobs, and it means we've got to rebuild ladders of opportunity for everybody willing to climb them. and that starts at home. there's no more important ingredient for success, nothing
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that would be more important for us reducing violence than strong, stable families. which means we should do more to promote marriage and encourage fatherhood. [ applause ] you know, don't get me wrong, as the son of a single mom who gave everything she had to raise me with the help of my grandparents, you know, i turned out okay. but -- so we got single moms out here, they're heroic what they're doing and we are so proud of them. [ applause ] but at the same time i wish i had had a father who was around and involved. loving, supportive parents, and
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by the way, that's all kinds of parents, that includes foster parents and grandparents and extended families, it includes gay or straight parents. [ applause ] those parents supporting kids, that's the single most important thing, unconditional love for your child. that makes a difference. if a child grows up with parents who have work and have some education and can be role models and can teach integrity and responsibility and discipline and delayed gratification, all those things give a child the kind of foundation that allows them to say, you know, my future, i can make it what i want. and we've got to make sure that every child has that and in some
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cases we may have to fill the gap and the void if children don't have that. so we should encourage marriage by removing the financial disincentives for couples who love one another but may find it financially disadvantageous if they get married. we should reform our child support laws to get more men working and engaged with their children. [ applause ] and my administration will continue to work with the faith community and the private sector this year on a campaign to encourage strong parenting and fatherhood because what makes you a man is not the ability to make a child, it's the courage to raise one. [ cheers and applause ] we also know though that there's no sure path to success in the middle class than a good
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education, and what we now know is that that has to begin in the earliest years. study after study shows that the earlier a child starts learning, the more likely they are to succeed. the more likely they are to do well at hyde park academy. the more likely they are to graduate. the more likely they are to get a good job. the more likely they are to form stable families and then be able to raise children themselves who get off to a good start. chicago already has a competition thanks to what the mayor is doing that rewards the best preschools in the city. so rahm has already prioritized this. but what i've also done is say let's give every child across america access to high quality public preschool, every child, not just some.
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every dollar we put into early childhood education can save $7 down the road by boosting graduation rates, reducing teen pregnancy, reducing violent crime, reducing the welfare roles, making sure the folks who have work, now they're paying taxes, all this stuff pays back huge dividends if we make the investment. so let's make this happen. let's make sure every child has the chance they deserve. [ applause ] as kids go through school, we'll recruit new math and science teachers to make sure they have the skills that the future demands. we'll help more young people in low-income neighborhoods get summer jobs. we'll redesign our high schools and encourage our kids to stay in high school so that the diploma they get leads directly to a good job once they graduate. [ applause ]
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right here in chicago five now high schools have partnered with companies and community colleges to pair our kids with the skills businesses are looking for right now and your college to careers program helps community college students get access to the same kinds of real world experience. so we know what works. let's just do it in more places. let's reach more young people. let's give more kids a chance. so we know how important families are. we know how important education is. we recognize that government alone can't solve these problems of violence and poverty th, tha everybody has to be involved. but we also have to remember that the broader economic environment of communities is critical as well. for example, we need to make sure that folks who are working
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now often in the hardest jobs see their work rewarded with wages that allow them to raise a family without falling into poverty. [ applause ] today a family with two kids that works hard and relies on a minimum wage salary still lives below the poverty line. that's wrong and we should fix it. we should reward an honest day's work with honest wages and that's why we should raise the minimum wage to $9 and make it a wage you can live on. [ cheers and applause ] and even though some cities vf bounced back pretty quickly from the recession, we know that there are communities and neighborhoods within cities or in small towns that haven't
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bounced back. cities like chicago are ringed with former factory town that is never came back all the way from plants packing up. there are pockets of poverty where young adults are still looking for their first job. and that's why on tuesday i announced and that's part of what i want to focus on here in chicago and across the country is my intention to partner with 20 of the hardest hit communities in america to get them back in the game. get them back in the game. [ applause ] first of all, we'll work with local leaders to cut through red tape and improve things like public safety and education and housing. and we'll bring all the resources to bear in a coordinated fashion. so that we can get that tipping point where suddenly a community starts feeling like things are
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changing. second of all, if you're willing to play a role in a child's education, then we'll help you reform your schools. we want to see more and more partnerships of the kind that rahm is trying to set up. third, we're going to help bring jobs and growth to hard-hit neighborhoods by giving tax breaks to business owners who invest and hire in those neighborhoods. [ applause ] fourth and specific to the issue of violence, because it's very hard to develop economic callie if people don't feel safe. if they don't feel like they can walk down the street and shop at a store without getting hit over the head or worse, then commerce drys up, businesses don't want to locate, families move out. you get into the wrong cycle. so we're going to target
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neighborhoods struggling to deal with violent crime and help them reduce that violence in ways that have been proven to work. and i know this is a priority of your mayor's. it's going to be a priority of mine. >> we've been watching the president in his hometown of chicago talking at length on the need for gun safety and to provide for children at every step on the economic ladder. joining us are my colleagues toure and krystal ball, co-hosts of "the cycle" and jonathan capeha capehar capehart, an opinion writer for "the washington post." the president there was emphatic on the role of fathers. he spoke of the fact that it's not an achievement to prove that you're a man because you have the ability to conceive a child but the courage to raise one. have you ever heard him recently speaking in such a direct way about the responsibility of fatherhood? >> no, not quite like that. talked a little bit in a very personal way about family, wishing that he'd had a father, and recognizing the importance
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of having a father in the home who is a positive role model. a lot of black families, unfortunately, don't have that. and it's a very sort of black history month appropriate speech to me. it's about reminding young people and other americans but definitely black people but the role models we have, the historical figures we can think about were beautiful and brilliant and additive to america. >> and we can seek to emulate those figures. >> white people have those sort of role models all the time. that's what plaqblack history m does. that's what he's talking about when he's giving you the concept of role models and positive people. you're talking about we're integrating all the policy pieces to talk about what children need to grow up positively, not just the role models as we've been talking about, but also safety in the neighborhood from gun violence,
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the economic pieces. it's a very powerful speech. >> krystal, i got the impression he was almost laying out the framework for our youngest children to develop in a society so they can go to good preschool education, that they can have a school that equips them for the workplace and then that they should have parents who care and are responsibly engaged. >> and parents who have jobs and good paying jobs that can afford to raise them and support them. i think you're absolutely right about that. and interestingly it was a great message for this audience, for this town, but to me what was striking is that he led with the stable family, and that actually is an argument that conservatives make a lot, that you can't just have government solutions. you have to have good families. now, the difference here is the president's vision of a family is very inclusive. he specifically mentioned gay parents, he mentioned foster parents, he made sure to give a shout out to the single moms who are doing heroic things, and so
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i think he was also in a way countering the argument that all he wants to do is to throw money at the problem to try to throw money at education, to try to solve things with just one policy on gun violence. he really is taking an all of the above approach starting with that cornerstone of the family. >> indeed. john capehart is with us. john, i just want to remind our viewers of what the president said about having a father. listen to this. >> i wish i had had a father who was around and involved. loving, supportive parents. >> john, what's your reaction to what the president has just been speaking about? >> well, look, just to bounce off the things toure was saying at the beginning of this, this isn't the first time the president has talked about this. when he talked about fathers, when he talked about the importance of family, that actually has been something he has said the exact phrasing, something he's been saying for at least four years now. he said it to the naacp.
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he has said it on the xran trail. the president and his administration had a fatherhood initiative where this idea that a stable family and the importance of fathers being involved in their children's lives is the foundation of not only families but moving people from poverty to the middle class and strengthening the country. you know, i'm someone who was raised by a single mom. i like the president, i never knew my father. my father died when i was 4 months old. when i hear the president speak this way, when he speaks about the importance of fathers and he speaks about the importance of families, it hits me very personally and i know it does the same for lots of people who are watching. >> of it does for me, too. i grew up, my father is still with my mother, he's always in the home but i see the impact on me versus other black men my age who don't have that and my father did not grow up with his father. so he talks about the difference in -- just in the way you treat
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a woman and the way i see him treating my mother and so i can take that into my relationship and just having the idea that you should get married and you should stay married for a long ti time. when we have books coming out is marriage just for white people? i know in my life and the example from my father it is still for us. >> and it's worth saying you yourself have children now. >> absolutely. >> and you are an exemplary father. >> krystal, it wasn't just emotional when the president was talking about not having access to his father, he was also very emotional at the beginning when he talked about hadiya pendleton. it clearly has been a difficult day for him. he hosted that ceremony for 18 civilians to receive that honor medal and relatives of those who were killed who were staff members at sandy hook elementary school. >> that's right. and he made sure at the top of his speech to emphasize how personal hadiya's death and the epidemic of violence in chicago is to him as someone who was
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raising girls in that town very close to where he's speaking within a mile of where hadiya was actually shot. that this is his hometown and he is with them. there have been calls for him for a while to come and speak in chicago and now that he's there, i think it is incredibly important to that community that he emphasize that he is with them, that he is of them, that he understands their struggles. >> john capehart, didn't you think as well he was making a connection with all of the things and issues that he raised in his state of the union, the minimum wage and how that impacts on families. preschool provision of education and how that develops a child's academic and intellectual abilities. all of it seemed to be brought to bear and gun violence as well. everything was laid out in this context as the president put it of strong families. >> right. right. think of the president as a needle and a thread. you have all of these ideas, preschool education, raising the
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minimum wage, fair pay for women, health care, rebuilding blighted neighborhoods. the president through his state of the union speech and the speech he's giving right now, he is threading all of those things together to show that stable families that have a mom and a dad or just parents with jobs making a decent wage that can support their families is good for neighborhoods but also good for the country and good for the middle class of this country. >> john capehart, toure, and krystal ball, thank you so much. and we now have nbc news white house correspondent kristin welker who joins us live from port st. lucie, florida, where the president will be going to spend the weekend. you heard the president's speech just now. that sounded to me like a continuation and application of his state of the union address. >> reporter: it was, and it was remarkable for how personal he got, certainly, martin, which you have all been talking about there in the studio. it's an


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